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Trump Escalates War on Media; Fourth of July Forecast; Repeal Now with Replace Later; Trump to Speak with Putin. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired July 3, 2017 - 08:30   ET


[08:30:00] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: People saw it right from the beginning.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: That was a veterans' event over the weekend, by the way. And not long after the president accused the media of using a hatchet, he showed himself taking the fight to the media, posting an anti-CNN video on Twitter. As part of the president's escalating war on the media, the question is, how far is too far?

Joining us now, CNN commentators Bakari Sellers and Ben Ferguson, media stars in their own right as well as pro wrestling aficionados.

I imagine you guys are going to disagree on this and have a lot to say and I'll butt but, but, Ben, I'll --


BERMAN: I'll start with this question, Ben. How does what the president is doing, these tweets about the media, the wrestling tweet, how does it make America better?

FERGUSON: Well, I think, one, you've got to look at this specifically from one issue and was it worth it or are these tweets worth it when it comes to pushing your legislative agenda? You could certainly make the argument that maybe it's not worth it for the fact that it takes off the focus on the things that the president has actually been accomplishing over the last week.

I will say this, sometimes people actually need to have a little bit of a sense of humor and not take themselves too seriously and overreact and try to turn this into a bigger issue than it really is. Let's look at the tweet. It takes about seven seconds to tweet it out. It's actually a little bit self-deprecating because it's showing Donald Trump doing fake wrestling, which everyone knows is fake. He saw it, thought it was pretty funny. After a week, when he felt like there were people that were being unfair to him at CNN that had to resign and so, therefore, he tweeted it out. And people are over playing this, trying to say he's inciting violence. It's a fake wrestling video. Don't take yourself so seriously. Have a little bit of fun with it. Enjoy the holiday weekend and not try to make this into something much bigger than it really was.

BERMAN: Bakari?

BAKARI SELLERS, CNN COMMENTATOR: Well, the problem with that thought is that not everyone sees it as, as just some funny video like Ben may see it or even myself may see it. And you can't look at this in isolation. You have to look at this in a totality. This is not anything new. This is the same Donald Trump that was campaigning and doing his rallies and saying knock them out. If you accidentally hurt them, I'll pay your legal bills. Having people being punched at his rallies, pushing and shoving and saying in the old days we used to take them out back.

This is the same person. He hasn't changed one bit. And this isn't some coordinated distraction from a legislative agenda, which is stalled, which has no major victories. This is just who he is. The problem, though, is that of his 35 percent of support, there may be one or two people who go out there and act at this behest. This is beneath the dignity of the office and Donald Trump has to be extremely careful with his words, something he doesn't know how to do.

BERMAN: Ben Ferguson, you yourself say this may not be helping to promote his agenda. What's your advice to the president on this?

FERGUSON: Well, I mean, I've always said this -- I've worked on campaigns -- is simply put, is it worth it or was it worth it what you just said or what you just tweeted out? Last week is a great example. I think the "Morning Joe" distraction unfortunately took away from some laws that the majority of Americans were in favor of, that he got passed and had worked hard for. Kate's Law is a perfect example and it was not talked about because they were talking about the tweets. So I would say that tweet probably wasn't worth it.

And so I -- the president has to look at this and say, hey, are these tweets really able to keep me focused? And I'm not talking about him personally. I think he can do both at the same time. Are they keeping the focus on the agenda that I am pushing and that people elected me to be the president to actually push forward?

But I'll also say this about this last tweet. There are so many people that have such disdain in the media for the president and it's very clear. And he's going to have a little fun with them. They don't like him. They want to destroy them. And when you send out something like this, I think some in the media take themselves too seriously. They think they're more important than the average American person. And the fact is, this was actually kind of just funny. And people need to learn to have a sense of humor in politics. Dial down the crazy and not overreact to something that is fake wrestling, because that's what it is, it's literally fake wrestling.

BERMAN: It's -- this -- it did stem, this video, you know, with the doctored thing with the CNN logo did stem from an account, a Reddit posting from a guy who -- or a woman apparently with tons of anti- Semitic tweets, anti-Muslim tweets. That's where the video came from.

FERGUSON: But -- but here --

BERMAN: Hang on, hang on, hang on. So -- FERGUSON: Right, but I don't think he got it from him. I think it was going viral long before that I saw it and (INAUDIBLE) --

SELLERS: It doesn't matter.

BERMAN: Does it -- but that's the source. That's the source, though. Does it -- is it just fun, Bakari, when the source of it is someone who also posts anti-Semitic things, anti-Muslim things?

SELLERS: And that -- and that's the crazy part of this entire conversation. Sometimes you feel like you're in the twilight zone, whether or not you're talking to a President Trump supporter or anyone else on the street because we had this soft bigotry of low expectation. The fact is, he took a post from an anti-Semitic punk on Reddit and then put it out there for the world to see from his presidential handle. Let's play a little game. Let's play the, what if this was Barack Obama game. People had a fit because the man used Dijon mustard, because he wore a tan suit. I mean they made up these little fake media spectacles. And now you have a president of the United States who's literally out there pummeling the media, using a military backdrop to actually blast the media, when the media are the group of people who dig deep into the VA scandals, who make sure that our military men and women get the coverage and care they need. So I'm trying to figure out why it's OK for Donald Trump to have a bar of expectation that comes up to my knee when we often times, as we should, hold the president up to a higher standard. It's just unjust.

[08:35:32] FERGUSON: Bakari, I love you -- I love you, but this is when you're stretching. People tweet things all the time and then they retweet them and they copy and paste them and now you're trying to turn this into somehow the president's been (INAUDIBLE) --

SELLERS: We're not talking about people. We're not talking about people.

FERGUSON: Let me at least just -- let me at least finish, OK? There are many things that I'm sure that you have tweeted that probably started somewhere, from someone that maybe you wouldn't agree with politically because people copy and paste things and then they try to make it their own again. But let me -- let me finish real quick. To stretch --

BERMAN: Hey, Ben -- Ben, this is -- this is -- this is the official -- hang on, let me just say -- I want to say one thing and then you can finish. This is the official White House Twitter account. Yes, he did it from @realdonaldtrump but he also did it from the White House Twitter account. This is an official governmental account that's re- tweeting an anti-Semite. Go.

FERGUSON: Again, I -- right. And what I'm saying is, is this is the perfect example of what I'm saying. You're overplaying something that actually when the president saw it, probably thought it was just funny for a moment and literally spent seven seconds of his life to retweet something that was fake wrestling. Now people are trying to make it into some sort of conspiracy theory or some sort of -- you know, he got it from somebody that sent something out that was anti-Semitic -- SELLERS: No.

FERGUSON: That was way down the list there. Again, don't take it so seriously. Have a little fun on the Fourth of July weekend.

SELLERS: Listen --

FERGUSON: And relax a little bit. Not everything has to be world war iii in politics.

SELLERS: I -- listen, Ben, I'm on my way to Vegas. I'm content. I'm happy. I'm going to enjoy this holiday. But let -- but let me tell --

FERGUSON: Well, enjoy it. We -- you and I need to have a little fun and relax.

SELLERS: But let me tell -- but let me tell you something. The fact -- the fact of the matter is, we're not talking about my Twitter account, we're not talking about yours, we're not talking about some average joe, we're talking about the president of the United States. And, you know, you're talking about seven seconds. He re-tweeted an anti- Semite. And, personally, I don't think that this is some big personal conspiracy theory. I don't think Donald Trump's really smart enough to participate actively in a conspiracy theory. But the fact of the matter is, we have to hold him to a higher standard and this is beneath the dignity of the office.

BERMAN: Hey, Bakari -- but, Bakari, Scott Taylor, a congressman from Virginia, earlier today told us, he said, you guys are all getting played. That's a Republican congressman telling the media, he goes, you guys are all getting played because you're focusing on the tweets and you're not focusing on other things. Your response to that, Bakari?

SELLERS: Oh, I think that's actually true. That's why I love -- I love these conversations, but I also love the fact that we have these local newspapers who are out there because I looked at the local news from around the country on Sunday, each senator that was in a swing state, that was in a state that matters, they were faced in the morning with coverage about Medicaid cuts and the fact that whatever the United States Senate is trying to do to their health care will be devastating. And we have to spend more time on that. I believe we can walk and chew bubble gum at the same time. I think Russia is a valid story. I think inciting violence is a valid story. But we also need to focus on the things that matter, those everyday bread and butter issues that sometimes we lose focus on when the president goes into these asinine Twitter rampages.

BERMAN: Bakari Sellers, Ben Ferguson --


BERMAN: Guys, thank you so much for being with us today. Bakari, have a great time in Vegas. Ben, I can't believe you told me wrestling is fake. Thank you, guys. Appreciate it.

SELLERS: Thank you.

BERMAN: Alisyn.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: All right, a budget impasse is shutting down all New Jersey state parks and beaches, but some people can still sunbathe. Governor Christie is soaking up the sun. The response to this photo, next. It's hot


[08:42:32] CAMEROTA: Time now for the "Five Things to Know for Your NEW DAY."

President Trump ramping up his war on the media. He is facing a backlash for posting a wrestling video of himself attacking a man with a CNN logo superimposed over his head.

BERMAN: That really happened.

The president preparing for a one-on-one meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G20 Summit in Germany this week. Sours tell CNN he will focus on Syria and Ukraine. He is not expected to bring up Russian election meddling.

CAMEROTA: Iraqi forces on the verge of driving ISIS out of Mosul, a city the terrorists have controlled for years. There is fierce fighting underway to pry the final few blocks from ISIS control.

BERMAN: Qatar has another 48 hours to comply with demands made by Persian Gulf neighbors who have isolated that country over its alleged support of extremists. President Trump called leaders in the region Sunday to express concern about this dispute.

CAMEROTA: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie under fire for spending Sunday with his family at a state beach that he had shut down to everyone else because of a budget standoff. The governor had told the reporter he did not get any sun this weekend. But when told about the pictures that proved otherwise, a rep for the governor said that's because he was wearing a hat.

BERMAN: Indeed he was.

For more on the "Five Things to Know," go to for the very latest.

CAMEROTA: OK, so what kind of Fourth of July will you have? Let's go to meteorologist Jennifer Gray for a look at the forecast.

How's it looking around the country, Jennifer?

JENNIFER GRAY, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, Alisyn, if people are starting early, as in today, we could see a wet, wet start to the celebrations across portions of the south. You can see the Texas/Oklahoma border, some flood warnings, some flash flood warnings in effect. So a little bit of trouble down there. We could see some scattered storms for the Fourth across the plains. Sunshine for the west, including the Pacific Northwest. Weather looks nice. Extreme portions of the northeast look good. Could see some scattered showers, though, across the southeast.

For today, though, this is the area we're watching, including Dodge City. Damaging winds, large hail. Doesn't look like tornadoes will be likely, but you can never rule that out, of course. And temperatures will be feeling very hot across much of the country, especially the south and the west.


BERMAN: All right, Jennifer Gray, thank you so much.

[08:44:39] A big week ahead for the White House. Can the president stay on message? We'll get "The Bottom Line," next.


CAMEROTA: So, it is a high stakes week ahead for President Trump with behind the scenes maneuvering on health care and a face-to-face meeting with Vladimir Putin at the G20 Summit. So, how will he stay on message? Let's get "The Bottom Line" with David Drucker. He's our CNN political analyst and senior congressional correspondent for "The Washington Examiner."

David, great to see you again.

OK, let's talk about where we are with health care first. So, the Senate bill that was scored by the CBO, that Senator Dean Heller of Nevada says he won't vote for, where are we with that? Are they still tweaking it or going back to the drawing board or what?

[08:50:12] DAVID DRUCKER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think it's a little of both. I mean I think they're trying to look for ways in which they can bring both conservative -- conservatives and moderates along, satisfy a lot of the concerns about the Medicaid expansion. Some people want more money for -- to fight opioid abuse. And, obviously, you have the conservatives on the right that want a more aggressive repeal of the Obamacare regulatory regime, believing that's what it require -- that that's what is required to reduce premiums and deductibles. So I think that they're spending the week exploring all of their options. Alisyn, I'd expect these negotiations and this effort to extend for most of the month of July. I don't expect any major breakthroughs next week, but that doesn't mean that all is lost.

BERMAN: Look, there's stuff happening behind the scenes, you know, among the leadership perhaps, but it's right out in the open for a lot of these senators who are home this week holding town meetings. And we've seen video of Bill Cassidy and the others just getting hammered at these meetings. Can these senators stand up to the pressure that they're really getting from both sides?

DRUCKER: Well, I think that they're in a bind because, on the hand, they have pressure from the right to repeal Obamacare. That is part of the pressure. Whether we're seeing it or not, it exists. On the other side, we have a very troubled health care system. And regardless of who Republicans and Democrats want to blame, the truth is health care needs fixing. And Republicans are in a bind because either they fix current law, which is politically untenable with their base, or they propose something new to solve the problems of access and pricing and all of that. And so they're in this position, John, where they have to do something and I think that's part of the pressure that's going to get them to a final solution. They will get beat up all along the way because there's so much opposition to the bill and because liberals are so energized, but they don't really have any solace on the right, who's not going to be forgiving if they don't get something done.

CAMEROTA: So, President Trump is going to be having these G20 meetings with world leaders. He is going to be meeting with Vladimir Putin for the first time. I mean after all of this talk, you know, for all of these months about their relationship, which basically is non- existent, and they will be meeting face-to-face for the first time. So, to be a fly on the wall, what do we expect?

DRUCKER: Yes. The anticipation is killing me. You know, this is a really, really interesting meeting because Donald Trump has treated Putin with kid gloves, even as he has beaten up our allies left and right. And, on top of that, we have something to go on here. I mean President Obama, a Democrat, tried to reset relations with Vladimir Putin. It failed. President George W. Bush thought that he looked into Putin's eyes and saw his soul and that he was a good guy. That failed. And so you think by now that maybe people who live in the White House would learn something about dealing with Vladimir Putin.

But it's possible that Trump could surprise us. He's shown, at times, an ability to act rather conventional. He did that on his Middle Eastern trip. And so maybe he gets into a room and he says, what you're doing in Ukraine is a no go and you've got to start calming down in Syria. But I don't know if that's what we should expect based on how he has talked about Russia and the way he seems to have his own ideas about a Russian reset three. But this is probably the biggest news of the week because Russia continues to be our biggest geopolitical adversary on the world stage at the moment.

BERMAN: Look, and there was all kinds of preparation for the Middle Eastern trip and the trip to Europe, which was, you know, not quite as, you know, controversy free as the Middle Eastern trip. And we don't know if there's quite as much preparation for this. So we will have to wait and see.

And one of the questions is, David, you know, can the White House, can the president stay on message this week? And I suppose the sub- question to that is, what is the message this week? Because as we're entering the week, it really just seems to be attacking the media. That can't be the message he's taking with him to Europe.

DRUCKER: Yes, but I bet him and Vladimir Putin will have a good laugh over that because they -- they both like to attack the media and --

BERMAN: Well, look, you joke -- you joke, but, you know, the fact that there's any similarity there is deeply disturbing, right, because Vladimir Putin, you know, goes after members of the media completely.

DRUCKER: Well, yes. Look, I -- I -- if I don't joke maybe I'll cry.

BERMAN: Right.

DRUCKER: I think -- look, I think you raise some very good points, but I think the question here is, is Donald Trump, is this president going to sort of stand up for the west, the west that we have led since the World War II period, and throughout the Cold War and the post-Cold War period and defend NATO, defend western Europe against, in a sense, Russia's attempt to undermine it, or is he going to try and forge a deal with Vladimir Putin that, in a sense, loosens all of that? And I think these are the big questions here. And part of that will depend on Trump's real view of Putin, whether they're able to sort of form some sort of relationship of any sort and -- and what the president's ultimate goal here is. And they've been very quiet about that. We don't know that. And that would tell us a lot more about what we can expect.

[08:55:02] BERMAN: All right, stay tuned. It is Independence Day eve. Go hang your stockings. David Drucker, thanks so much for being with us.

DRUCKER: Thank you.

BERMAN: "The Good Stuff" is next.


CAMEROTA: OK, time now for "The Good Stuff." This one out of Harlem, Nebraska. And that's where teammates are helping Jackson Rolds (ph) forget about his cancer and pursue his passion. So Jackson is the lead-off hitter and recently he smacked six home runs in a single game.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think six home runs is just good.


CAMEROTA: Yes, I think that's good also. Even the opposing team took note by creating and signing a special bat for him and everyone takes pride in their Jackson cheer.


KIDS: Jackson go (ph)!


CAMEROTA: That's nice. Players and coaches called Jackson inspirational, but his father says this is a two-way street. He says this goes beyond baseball. It is about friendship as well.

BERMAN: That's fantastic. So meaningful for him. And I bet you it's meaningful for every kid on that team as well.

CAMEROTA: Oh, absolutely. That is a lesson that they will carry with them for the rest of their lives.

It is time now for CNN "NEWSROOM" with Fredricka Whitfield. Thanks for joining us and we'll see you all tomorrow.

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. All right, you all have a great holiday day. We'll consider this still a part of the holiday. Enjoy, John and Alisyn.

[09:00:02] CAMEROTA: Indeed. Yes, we are.

WHITFIELD: Thank you.

All right, good morning, everyone. Hello, I'm Fredricka Whitfield, in for Poppy and John.